Even though concrete is the world’s most highly used construction material, scientists have failed to understand very important fundamental aspect of the material, until now.
A group of researchers from MIT, Georgetown, and CNRS in France believe they have finally figured out whether or not concrete is actually a solid, continuous material, like stone, or a group of materials that are packed so tightly together that they only act like a continuous material. The team found that although there is always a smaller particle that fills open space in the concrete (which would make it a continuous material), concrete never really stops moving, which is why it’s susceptible to cracking and degrading.
So what’s the big deal about a bunch of science junkies looking at concrete through some microscopes and figuring this out? This research could lead to better, more environmentally stable concrete. Because concrete is so widely used and it takes so much heat to cook limestone for cement mixtures, it is the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases. Optimizing the cement mixture makeup to coincide with this new research data could not only reduce the amount of heat necessary, it could also lower the amount of water needed.
Speaking of water, it’s been widely accepted that the freeze-thaw cycle of water inside the concrete causes cracking as the water expands, but the team says that’s not actually the case. Water can actually enter through pores which range in size from 15 to 20 nanometers (read: super small, one nanometer is one-billionth of a meter) and the water alone causes cracks and further concrete degradation without the help of freezing.
Full story: Riddle of cement’s structure is finally solved | MIT
I’ve been very fortunate over the course of my relatively short career in construction to spend time focusing on many different aspects of construction. I recently spent about two and a half years working in site development and Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) compliance on a national scale and I wanted to share some of the insights that I gained from that experience.
In 2016, Elon Musk and Tesla announced that they had developed an innovative solar roofing tile that looks almost identical to traditional roof shingles currently on the market. Standard solar panels look be large and clunky on a roof, which made many excited about a nearly “invisible” solar tile option. After 3 years, we recently got a major update into how the installations of the product is going.
On Thursday, April 18th, the New York City Council passed what they are calling “NYC’s Green New Deal,” which legislators hope will greatly reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. In order to achieve those results, several mandates included in the legislation will have major effects on the construction and real estate industries.
Almost 7 years ago, construction began on the west side of Manhattan’s $20 billion mixed-use development. On March 15, 2019, Hudson Yards, as the development is known, has officially opened.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home to the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, was completed in late 2017. The impressive structure had a hefty price tag of $1.4 billion, but it has already played host to several of the biggest events in sports, including the 2018 College Football National Championship and the recent 2019 NFL Superbowl. In addition to playing a large role in the sports world, it’s also playing a large role environmentally for the area surrounding the stadium.
A new 21-story apartment building proposed for Milwaukee, Wisconsin as received unanimous approval from the City Plan Commission. If built, the new tower could possibly be North America’s tallest mass timber building.
The USGBC recently released their 2018 ranking of the Top 10 US States for LEED construction, which is sorted by Gross Square Footage per Capita. That ranking system allows them to get a fair comparison of states, despite differences in population and number of buildings.
Tall buildings made with structural timber have been on the rise in Canada and European countries in recent years, but the United States has been slower to adopt the method due to code restrictions. The state of Oregon recently released an addendum to their building code to allow taller mass timber buildings in the state and an upcoming International Code Council (ICC) vote could encourage more states to follow suit.
You may have been sitting in your house or office one day and noticed the distinct sound of a bird hitting the window. It’s pretty common, as it’s estimated that as many as 988 million birds die in the US each year by colliding into glass. The new arena that will house the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks has incorporated some design elements that will reduce the amount of birds killed by the massive structure, allowing it to be dubbed the “World’s Most Bird Friendly Sports Arena.”